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Belgian Tervuren | Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Personality & Facts

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By Emma Braby

Belgian Tervuren
Height: 22 – 26 inches
Weight: 45 – 75 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Colors: Fawn and black, mahogany and black
Suitable for: Active families, experienced dog owners, homes with space, companionship seekers
Temperament: Loyal, hardworking, intense, affectionate, protective

The Belgian Tervuren is a purebred pooch who is relatively rare in America. So, if you like the look of the German Shepherd or the Belgian Malinois, but you fancy a pooch who is a little more unique or hairier, this could be the dog breed for you.

He is one of four Belgian herding dog breeds, so you guessed it, this guy is very energetic, and he needs to live with an active family. But if you can provide him with the work or the energy-burning schedule, he will return the favor in lots of love and canine company.

He is devoted to his family and would do anything for them. He also has a great sense of humor, so all in all, this guy makes a fantastic family pet for many families. But the question is, are you the right owner for him? Well, here in this Belgian Tervuren complete guide, we’re going to help you discover just that.

So, let’s dive straight into the Tervuren testimony.

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Belgian Tervuren Puppies – Before You Get One…

Belgian Tervuren puppy
Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

Before you fully commit to the Belgian Tervuren, you need to understand that you must be an active family that can commit to the high energy of the Tervuren. Without it, he will become unhappy, and he’ll soon become problematic.

So for the happiness of all involved, including your best furniture, you need to be able to set aside 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous exercise every single day. And if you can’t, you need to look for another dog breed altogether.

He is a loyal and devoted dog who loves to be with his human family all day every day. If you are looking for a four-legged best friend who will never leave your side, the Tervuren is capable of providing you with intense companionship.

But, if you prefer an independent pooch who will respect your personal space, you should move onto the next dog breed.

With this in mind, the Tervuren needs to live with a family that can keep him company. If there isn’t someone in the family that can be at home for most of the day, this relationship just isn’t going to work.

For those times when you do have to leave him for a few hours, it is a good idea to crate train him so that he has a safe place to rest while he is alone.

Although he is closely related to the Malinois, who is very trainable, this guy has an independent streak, which means he has stubborn off-days. This trait, combined with his intensity and neediness, is why we suggest he is only suited to those who are experienced with dogs.

The Belgian Tervuren is not for a novice dog owner, and many can find him overwhelming, or too much dog to handle. So, unless you are experienced, or you are going to seek professional canine behavior training assistance, this dog breed is not for you.

3 Little-Known Facts About Belgian Tervuren

1. The Belgian Tervuren has another name

In Belgium, this guy has another name, which is the Chien de Berger Belge. For the rest of the world, he is named after the town that he originates from, which is Tervuren, which is just east of Brussels.

2. The Belgian Tervuren is the most elegant of the four Belgian herding breeds

This guy is the most graceful of the four Belgian breeds, not only in his personality but also his looks. His long coat and mane give him a majestic appearance, and his gait is floaty and effortless. So, if you prefer a posh pooch, this guy is an excellent option for you.

3. The Belgian Tervuren is a police dog in Belgium

Because the Belgian Tervuren is a devoted and intelligent breed, he is the Belgian police dog of choice. This means that if you are confident in dog training, you could find yourself a trainable guard dog on your hands.

Belgian Tervurens playing
Image Credit: dSnottyBoggins, Pixabay

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Belgian Tervuren Temperament & Intelligence 🧠

If you can handle the points we mentioned above, this guy makes a fantastic family pet. He is loving and affectionate with his family. He loves to snuggle with his primary caregivers in the evening after a busy day at work. And with that thick lion’s mane, he makes a tremendous canine hot water bottle.

He is also full of character, and he is a comical pooch who is forever making his family laugh. This characteristic is one of the main aspects of his personality that keeps Tervuren lovers with the breed for life.

The Tervuren is also a faithful watchdog, and he’ll be sure to alert you to anything untoward around. Although he doesn’t replace the need for a fire or intruder alarm, he’ll most certainly protect you in the face of danger.

Thankfully, because he is intelligent, he knows to accept strangers into the house when his master tells him that they are friends. When told to relax, he will do so happily. Despite his cute and fluffy appearance, he has a booming bark on him. And even the bravest wouldn’t dare mess with him when he is in family protection mode.

The Tervuren is a sensitive soul who doesn’t like change in the family home. Be that moving house or his humans going on vacation without him. Ideally, he should be placed with a stable family who cherishes a steady family life, rather than a sociable family who has no real routine.

The Belgian Tervuren is an intelligent dog who can pick up commands and tricks very quickly. Which is why he is used as a police dog in Belgium. To captivate his intelligence, he needs an experienced dog trainer who knows how to train dogs.

But, many Tervuren owners state that he also has a stubborn side. And it is this that prevents him from earning five stars on the trainability chart above. Although his stubborn days are few and far between, he does have them.

Are Belgian Tervurens Good for Families? 🏡

Yes, the Belgian Tervuren makes an excellent family pet, but just like all dog breeds, he needs the right family. His high energy needs and intense character can be too much for some families to handle, especially for inexperienced ones.

As long as you can provide him with his needs that we’ve already mentioned above, he is a versatile dog. He can slot himself into most families and brings smiles to all that choose him.

He makes a great canine sibling for families with children, too. But, because of his herding instinct, he may try to herd new children. So, if you notice this behavior in the home, you need to train it out of him straight away.

Just because he is more commonly chosen as a family pet rather than a traditional herding dog, this doesn’t mean that he will drop his herding instincts. You need to work with him for him to become a suitable family pet, not try to change him.

Belgian Tervuren
Image: SnottyBoggins from Pixabay

Do Belgian Tervuren Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

As long as he is well socialized, he is likely to get along with dogs and other pets. Remember his herding nature, and expect that he might try to herd them. But again, as long as you are strict with him, his intelligent brain will soon understand that this is unacceptable.

He does have a high chase instinct, and this means two things for prospective Belgian Tervuren owners. Firstly, their yard needs to be secure so that he cannot get out and chase the local cats. Secondly, he should always be kept on a leash when you are out in public with him because he will chase after other dogs and cyclists.

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Things to Know When Owning a Belgian Tervuren

Owning a Belgian Tervuren isn’t an easy feat, and here are a few extra factors that you need to take note of for him to stay happy and healthy.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Belgian Tervuren needs high-quality food that will provide him with plenty of protein for his high energy needs and muscle power. Dried kibble is a convenient way to feed him protein without the mess or risks that raw food has, and he’ll need approximately 2½ cups of food a day.

It also ensures that he receives a well-balanced diet that will keep him nourished and healthy. Vitamin and mineral supplements are added to the kibble in the cooking process, and they are often fortified with probiotic ingredients that will keep his digestion regular too.

The food that you choose for him should be life-stage appropriate, i.e., if he’s a puppy, he’ll need puppy food, and if he’s a senior, he’ll need senior food.

He is a medium to large-sized dog too, and as such, it is vital to feed him a kibble that will control his bone growth rate as a pup. You can do this by feeding him food that is designed for large breeds. This will lower the chances of him developing bone diseases when he is older, which is particularly crucial for the Belgian Tervuren and his skeletal health concerns.

Exercise 🐕

The Belgian Tervuren needs between 60 and 90 minutes of exercise a day. He would love to be worked on a farm or a ranch as a herder. But if this is not possible, varied and intense exercise will do just fine.

He makes a great jogging partner, agility dog, and frisbee fetcher. But as long as the exercise is intense and he is with you, he’ll enjoy it whatever the activity is. Just be sure to mix up the events because he will become bored if you do the same thing day in and day out.

He will also need mental exercise on top of this. A great way to stimulate his mind is teaching him new tricks and commands. Not only will this keep his intelligent mind challenged, but it will also help to strengthen your bond with him and give him his human fix. Easy brain games are also an excellent way to keep him happy.

Training 🦮

The Belgian Tervuren doesn’t just magically turn into a fantastically behaved pooch. It takes time, effort, and proper training to transform him into the Tervuren that we all know and love. Which is why he needs someone who understands how a dog’s mind ticks.

He is a protective guard dog who needs proper socialization to ensure that he doesn’t become overprotective. It is vital to introduce him to unfamiliar people so that he doesn’t grow up to think that every stranger is a threat.

Socialization is not just a case of mixing him with other dogs and humans (although this is super important), but it is also about exposing him to all the day-to-day things that he will experience. Exposing him gradually to loud sounds such as walking on the sidewalk or the hairdryer. As well as getting him accustomed to his grooming schedule will build his confidence as he grows.

The Belgian Tervuren should be crate trained as soon as you bring him home, with a crate ready and waiting for him on his arrival. This will give him a space straight away that he can call his own, and you can relax, knowing that he isn’t going to destroy your furniture while you are away.

Belgian Tervuren
Photo credit: SnottyBoggins, Pixabay

Grooming ✂️

The Belgian Tervuren has a fluffy coat that needs a fair bit of grooming compared to his shorter-haired Belgian Malinois cousin. You should brush him several times a week to keep his coat looking healthy and to keep matting at bay.

When it comes to his jacket, this guy is more like a Collie. Especially with his voluminous neck mane, which is also commonly referred to as a collarette.

He’ll need a bath once every 8 to 12 weeks or so, and it is advised to get a natural concentrated shampoo that will be able to penetrate his thick coat. If he has sensitive skin, be sure to choose grooming products that are designed for sensitive skin.

All other grooming routines, such as nail clipping, ear, and eye cleaning is the same as every other dog. As you brush him, keep an eye out for any changes in his body or appearance.

Health Conditions ❤️

The Belgian Tervuren is a purebred dog, and just like all other purebreds, his breed is prone to specific health conditions. Thankfully, he is a relatively hardy dog who enjoys a long lifespan of 12 to 14 years.

Minor Conditions
  • Sebaceous adenitis
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
Serious Conditions
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Von Willebrands disease
  • Bloat

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Male vs. Female

When it comes to his personality, there is not much difference between the two sexes. Personality is shaped more by his environment and training, so it’s essential to invest time and effort into everything for him to live his best life.

Males are larger than their female counterparts, and they also have a larger collarette than females. So potentially, males need slightly more grooming and a bit more space.

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Final Thoughts: Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren is a regal and elegant Belgian herding dog who has a never-ending stamina and work ethic. He also has plenty of love and cuddles to give to his human pack.

As long as you can provide him with the experience dog training knowledge, company and exercise, this guy will slot himself into most families with ease. He is sensitive, but he is also a happy pooch who always wears a big grin on his muzzle.

Because he is a rare pooch, you might have to place yourself on a puppy waiting list. But he’ll be worth the wait when you bring him home.

Featured Image: Vera Reva, Shutterstock

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